There is a broad spectrum between fiction and non-fiction. Historical fiction is somewhere in the middle. Some historical fiction is predominantly fiction drawing on the historical record primarily for the setting. [Disclosure, I am writing a novel like this set during the Thera explosion of the Minoan era on Crete.] Other historical fiction moves very close to non-fiction with historical figures as the main characters. Napoleon's Last Island by Thomas Keneally is of the latter type, focusing on Elizabeth Balcombe, a friend of Napolean during his exile on St. Helena. This is certainly a challenge as there is much published, both fiction and non-fiction about Betsy, including other memoirs.
I found this novel to read much like non-fiction, and thought it might have been more enjoyable if I had been a better student of Napolean. In fact, I didn't know where St. Helena was located until I read this book.
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4 months ago